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Archive for March, 2010

Travel; what is it about that word that conjures up a whole vista of possibilities?   Could you imagine what your life would be like without travel?  Is it possible to not travel?   Whatever you do and whatever your reason,  travelling is a part of most people’s lives.

For centuries now people have been travelling, not just locally, but right around the world.   The reasons over the centuries have been different and yet remain the same, just in a different context.   Our forefathers travelled.  Ancient civilizations travelled.   New world’s were discovered, different civilizations and different cultures.   Their reasons for travel were vastly different and yet remain the same; to explore and conquer.   We all travel in one way or another.

There are different reasons why people travel:

1) Many people travel because they want to see their families and friends, whether they live near or far. Invitations from families and friends, for weddings, birthdays, or any other form of celebration are a good reason to pack your bags and travel.

2) Some people may travel seeking love, because they want to find their soul mates, believing that there is only one person for them and if they haven’t had much luck in their area, perhaps they will be luckier elsewhere.   With millions of people around the world, there is a possibility they could find love in some other place.

3) People travel to seek employment, perhaps having been unlucky nearer to home, possibly because they want to have a different experience e.g. volunteering.   Admittedly work may be hard to come by in your hometown or country and so some people decide to work abroad because they are looking for greener pastures.  They could earn more money abroad or perhaps their expertise is not favourable where they currently reside.

4) People travel because they want to learn about other cultures, to experience the differences between their’s and other cultures.  They travel and learn because for them learning while travelling is fun.   One very popular reason for travelling to another country is to enjoy and learn about the food.

5) People travel because they enjoy writing.   They want to share relevant information about the places they visit, write articles for their readers or find information for a novel perhaps.  There is a whole industry based just on travel writing.

6) People travel because they want to explore the landscape of different countries, take photographs as souvenirs or for commercial purposes.

7)  Many businessmen travel to promote or extend a current business, or start up a new business in other countries for expansion to increase their profit margins.    Business is nothing without profit.

8) And today, more and more people are travelling for pleasure, on vacation to exotic places.  Baby Boomers are currently the driving force behind the travel industry.   Born between 1946 and 1964, many of these people are now retired or coming up to retirement.  They’ve worked hard all their lives, invested sensibly and now they want to make the most of their later years, enjoy different experiences, see different countries and perhaps even relocate to warmer climes.

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I was reading a very interesting blog today from Jeff Bullas; 30 Things You Should Not Share on Social Media.

He mentions some seriously idiotic things that people post on facebook and following close behind on twitter.  They tend to forget that their posts are open to public viewing and all it takes is for someone to take offence or perhaps a work colleague to notice a detrimental comment and ooops you could lose your job, or at the least face disciplinary action.  I was aghast at some of the stuff people write about and call me naive or ignorant, but I did not think that people actually post pictures of themselves inebriated or comments on their bodily functions!

One of the replies on the blog from a reader commented that because of the apparently virtual anonimous space of our computers, the barriers of propriety are breaking down and things you would not dream of saying to someone’s face, are shared via the virtual world.   Stories have a way of spreading and going viral as it is known today.     I was thinking about the various items that Jeff mentioned on his blog and the power of social media for spreading the word so to speak.   But what of the age old methods from the past: gossip.   Gossip passed on becomes rumour, and no less damaging albeit on a smaller scale.   Imagine my suprise then when I opened my email box today to find this article from my sister:

“Once upon a time an old man spread rumours that his neighbour was a thief.     As a result, the young man was arrested.     Days later the young man was proven innocent.     After being released he sued the old man for wrongly accusing him.

In court the old man told the Judge:    “They were just comments, didn’t harm anyone.”       The judge, before passing sentence on the case, told the old man: “Write all the things you said about him in a piece of paper.     Cut them up and on the way home, throw the pieces of paper out. Tomorrow, come back to hear your sentence.” 

Next day, the judge told the old man: “Before receiving the sentence, you will have to go out and gather all the pieces of paper that you threw out yesterday.     ” The old man said: “I can’t do that!    The wind spread them and I won’t know where to find them.”

The judge then replied: “In the same way, simple comments may destroy the honour of a man to such an extent that one is not able to fix it. If you can’t speak well of someone, rather don’t say anything”.”

Which brings me to the article from Jeff and the list; beware of what you say on public forums; if you can’t speak well of yourself or someone else, rather don’t say anything at all.

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What a lovely day today. I have so enjoyed connecting and chatting to friends around the world. I am so addicted to twitter and facebook and surfing the internet. I could do this all day.   It never ceases to amaze me how much information is out there, I learn something new every day.  I love following the links that people post on their updates, and find out things I never knew.  It is great to have a virtual ‘chat’ with a friend who lives in the USA and to say goodnight to someone in Sweden, reply to posts on travel forums about places I’ve been and retweet inspiring quotes.

I joined a new travel site tonight and when I was filling in the names of the places I have travelled to in the last 9 years as well as the info on areas I have lived in and travelled to in SA, I am reminded of how many places I have been to!  How lucky I am to have had the opportunity to live in the UK.  From here it is so easy to go places in Europe and the USA, and as travelling is my passion of course the more the better.  I was pleasantly surprised to note just how many places I have been to, and frankly I cant even remember many of them (will have to check back on my diaries).   Filling in the destinations was great fun, and I enjoyed the memories of each trip as I noted them down.

It also served to remind me how lucky I am to have been introduced to World Ventures and how with the opportunities it provides, I will now be able to travel even more and get to visit all the places still on my wish list.  Of course my wish list is incredibly long and I would have to live another whole lifetime just to get to them all, but with this company at least I can be sure of visiting the most of them.

I started out writing this blog this morning, but got diverted and distracted as I usually do when I get onto twitter, and so the day has gone by.  So in the interest of time….. I will simply post the following as it was when I wrote it:

“as i write I am sitting overlooking the verandah, a perfect position to watch all the activity going on.  a squirrel is nicking the bird seed (as usual), the blue tits are flitting back & forth and I noticed just now that the great tits are nest building; how exciting!  The weather is mucky and we’ve had rain off and on since the early hours.    I also noticed that the fox did’nt eat much of the food I left out last night, ignored my macaroni cheese and left it on the plate!!! how rude 🙂    oooo a chaffinch has just landed; ahh they are so pretty and I don’t often see them in the mornings.  The magpie with it’s glorious shimmering blue & pink tail feathers has been.   They always make me nervous they do, staring at me with one eye and head cocked.   This verandah is a constant source of entertainment and I am so lucky to be able to watch the birds as they go about their business, although I have noticed that there are not as many birds as usual in the garden this year.  With the warmer weather there do appear to be a few more pairs flitting about in the trees in front of the house.  Noticeable because the trees are still bare, although I have to say that there are not as many birds this spring as usual.    I have seen a pair of robins, occassionally a third.  I have seen four blue tits, 2 great tits, 1/2 chaffinch, 2 sparrows, a number of magpies and of course plenty of pigeons (which I dislike intensely).   We have had as many as 5 squirrels at a time on the verandah and they are incredibly greedy and great fun to watch. although I was absolutely dismayed to see one steal a chick from the magpie’s nest high in the tree.    The trees are starting to bud now and I noticed today that the bush at the bottom of the garden is a blaze of yellow flowers.  Of course the whole world is a blaze of yellow with the fabulous daffodils that are blooming everywhere.  They are quite my favourite flowers and brighten even the dullest of days.  A sure sign of spring, they are lovely to behold.”     

I was surfing the UK news tonight and noticed this article  which of course immediately caught my eye, most particularly because I had remarked earlier on that I had not seen many birds in the garden this year.

and now since it is actually tomorrow, I had better go to bed before the sun comes up 🙂

Enjoy your day guys, wishing you a good one.

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I have been thinking a lot about the phenomenal response to EarthHour that swept the world last night, and reflecting on how amazing it is when people from all walks of life, backgrounds, cultures and countries pull together to’ make change’.

I spent many hours on twitter last night following the story and reading people’s comments (hugely entertaining, I might add).  So when I opened my email today and noticed this article on ‘Power’, it seemed quite congruent, as the reason for EarthHour was of course ‘power’, of an electrical kind as well as the power of people all working together and focusing on one thing to make a change.

As a subscriber to SelfGrowth.com, I receive updates from David on a regular basis.  I usually enjoy the articles he features and this is no exception; I found this absolutely delightful story by Jan Bolick, in my inbox today and decided to share it with you:

If you’ve lost power, or never had any to begin with, how can you possibly make a difference? Why bother dreaming? Or trying to make a goal? Or even setting one? Someone or something will keep you from it anyway. Might as well forget about trying to make a difference in someone else’s life — much less your own.

PLEASE don’t listen to ANY of nonsense above!!! You have plenty of power. It might not be obvious. You may have to hunt around a bit. But it’s there somewhere. I hope this article will help you with search and discovery so that you find your power. And if you are a manager, I hope it will help you help others find theirs. A must for morale & productivity.

************

One December morning – the house was colder than normal. The clocks were dead. Out the window, we saw trees sagging under a beautiful crystal-like layer of ice; power lines across the road beneath branches, limbs — even whole trees.

We learned from our battery operated radio that 90% of the homes in our town were without power. They said it would take 8 days to restore.

We went in search of breakfast and found only one restaurant open. It seemed the entire town was there — hungry and powerless.

Powerless. We had lost possession of control.

It’s funny the habits we found hard to break. Passing the neighborhood video store on the way home from breakfast, my son said excitedly, “No school today! Let’s get a video!” “Oh — I forgot”, he said. “We don’t have power.” For two days — I flipped the light switch every time I entered a room. “Oh — I forgot. No power.”

No lights. No video. No hot water. Or stove. Or refrigerator. No washer. Or dryer. No television. No computer. Or e-mail. No phone. Or fax. No traffic lights. Or streetlights. Never mind that our ancestors didn’t have these things. Never mind that many people of the world are without these things every day.

WE HAD NO POWER!

We are spoiled by power. Feel entitled to it.

Yet — might it be true that by losing it, we uncover forgotten power? Hidden power? Maybe even become more powerful?

We remembered some forgotten power fairly easily. Like the gas hot water heater. And the gas logs. Then we remembered the “old-timey” telephone in the attic. You know — one of those that doesn’t need electricity?

And what about the gas grill? It became a great and fun place to heat water for hot chocolate, cook eggs and a “mean” tasting grilled cheese sandwich.

Our power was revealed in other ways as well.

Gerry and his friend went out with their chain saws on that first day, clearing streets and driveways all over town. They did it because they had the equipment and the know-how. Not for rewards or payment. They told us about a woman who gave them a $50 bill to thank them for their help. They refused. She insisted. They took the money and gave it to charity. They used their power to help others and to pay it forward.

Other friends and neighbors who did have electricity called their friends and neighbors to check in and offer assistance. Once we located our old timey telephone, we were lucky enough to receive one of those calls from Lou and Tracey. They invited us over for showers and dinner and to spend the night. We gladly accepted!

The first night, we helped cook dinner for ten others who had been invited for a warm-up dinner. It quickly became dinner for 35 and a night full of fun and laughter. We all forgot about our own cold, dark households — for three nights in a row. Meanwhile — their showers had revolving doors. The washer and dryer worked non-stop. And the countertops were constantly lined with charging cell phones and laptops. Lou and Tracey had power and they shared it. In the process, they reminded the rest of us about the power of friendship and generosity.

Our neighbor, Beth, also had power. Looking for those without, she knocked on doors and called on the telephone, repeating what became a famous refrain “Come on over and BYOT!” (Bring your own towel).

WCHL, our community radio station that had lost power, but the engineers and generators kept the sound waves going 24/7. And somehow the sleep-deprived announcers kept providing information and entertainment, both vital during this emergency situation. One announcement was about Weaver Street Market. They had lost power and their food was spoiling. In an effort to turn their misfortune into good fortune for others, they asked WCHL to announce “Come take our food. It’s FREE.”

Sally heard the announcement and went right over. Her power was out so she had no place for the food, but she knew of a family of eight whose home had burned to the ground the week before. They were starting over in a rental home near Sally and they had power, an empty refrigerator and an empty freezer. So Sally drove to Weaver Street and let the manager know the situation. He loaded her station wagon with food which Sally delivered — filling her new neighbor’s freezer to the brim.

Sally had lost the power to do her usual job. Weaver Street had lost their power to provide fresh food. WCHL had lost their usual source of power as well. Even so, this threesome had a powerful impact on a family that had suffered a tragedy few of us can even imagine.

Dave also heard an announcement on WCHL about someone giving free wood to those in need. Dave had no use for wood, but he knew of an older couple nearby who had run out, so he filled his trunk with wood and delivered it to the couple. Dave had lost power to do his usual job, but he found hidden power to help another couple in need.

The power lines had been completely ripped away from our house. We had gotten conflicting information about whether to wait for the power company or call an electrician. On the fifth dark day, we decided to call an electrician. As you might imagine, it was hard to locate one at this time. We finally reached Sam on Sunday morning at 7:00am. He drove 40 miles to come over and repair the damage. When we asked what we owed, he quoted his normal weekday, non-emergency hourly rate. He had the power to repair the damage done by the storm. He did it. He had the power to charge far more than his normal rate. He didn’t.

The power was on and everyone went back to work and school.

Shortly before the storm, Shelly Heath, a teacher at McDougle Middle School, had introduced “kindness” as part of a values curriculum. Our town’s loss of power added power to this values lesson, as kids came to school after the storm, reporting their many powerful exposures to kindness.

People often talk about things they wish they could have — things they wish were different. Those wishful statements are often followed by reasons these wishes won’t or can’t come true. Reasons or obstacles — like spouses, kids, bosses, mergers, layoffs, the economy, war — the list goes on and on.

These obstacles seem to zap our power like the ice did.

Yet if we truly want the things described in our wishful statements — don’t we have the power somewhere? Forgotten power? Hidden power? We certainly found a lot of it back in December.

Copyright 2010 – Business Class Incorporated

About the Author:

Jan has thirty years of sales and management experience and loves sharing it (plus her love for solving problems and for making work fun) with others so that they can get through tough situations, make big goals and celebrate these achievements.

She is now President of Business Class Inc which provides resources to managers and business owners such as one-on-one coaching, master mind groups and management team retreats. Plus FREE resources such as a Blog, E-Zine and Quote Library, which includes over 100 motivational quotes ready to download, print, post and share to help teach, learn, remind and reinforce important keys for business success.

If you’ve lost power, or never had any to begin with, how can you possibly make a difference? Why bother dreaming? Or trying to make a goal? Or even setting one? Someone or something will keep you from it anyway. Might as well forget about trying to make a difference in someone else’s life — much less your own.

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Earlier on today I posted a tweet on twitter (?) about a unique race that will take place in July of this year.

“Race The Green Machines” is an event that begins on 24 July this year, when competitors will gather at Battersea Park to take part in an unusual race to Istanbul, in what seems to be the first carbon-free race in the world.   The challenge is that all competing teams must be as carbon-free as possible.

The competition has only 2 rules: during the journey London-Istanbul (1) there will be no carbon emissions and (2) no national laws can be broken,

This race has to be carbon free and not carbon neutral,  So, it won’t do to drive a Porsche and offset your emissions; the challenge is to take part in vehicles that are emissions-free.

The brainchild of the idea is a dashing gentleman called James Westropp, formerly from the Welsh Gaurds and now a teacher at Sandhurst.   The event is entirely an awareness-raising event and all proceeds are for charity.   Mr Westroppe hopes to raise a significant sum to donate to the cause of the rainforests and other climate change mitigation.

for more details go to: http://www.racethegreenmachines.com

this is an opportunity for people to show creativity and come up with funky and unusual designs; bicycles, biodiesel balloons, electric cars, or any new funky vehicle, so long as it matches the criteria!

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I was walking down the hill today returning from the village when I noticed 3 guys putting the finishing touches to a black Porsche that they were cleaning.  I sauntered on over and with a big smille on my face said: “Hey guys, you’ve done a great job, thanks a lot. Can I take my car now?”  The look on their faces: classic.  Two of the guys looked at me absolutely dumbfounded and jaws gaping.  The other chap caught on real quick and with a florish and a bow, said: “You’re welcome Ma’am, off you go!”  What a great life 🙂

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mmm, so here I am back online!  and what is so special about that? well I have been without a computer for the last 5 days. Nothing major, just upgrading from one package to another, sending one back and ordering another.

No big deal, except I had to live for a whole week without a computer!  After a day I was beginning to suffer from withdrawal symptoms and became real edgy with the frustration of being unable to communicate.   This gave me pause for thought and with time for reflection I had to ponder on the absurdity of life where in order to remain connected to the wider world we need (and I use the word ‘need’ quite seriously) a computer or some such similar device.

I had time to think about the fact that before I ever had a computer, I had a life.  I used to read books a lot, I used to play games with my daughter (ok well she’s married now and lives in another house, so that’s a moot point), I used to build jigsaw puzzles and knit a lot and go for long walks.  My life now consists of yahoo, twitter, facebook, youtube, google, hootsuite, and so on and so forth.  I never move more than 2 feet without my phone, which has twitter, facebook, skype and yahoo.  If at any time I am unable to connect I get stressed and annoyed.

Have I become a technology junkie?

Having said that, I love the internet, I love being able to connect with the wider world and I love that I am able to find out just about anything I want at virtually the stroke of the keys!  I enjoy blogging, posting photos to the internet, reading other people’s thoughts and posts on twitter, finding out what’s happening thousands of miles away, sometimes before it’s even on the news. I love that I am able to email folks back home and friends in countries far far away.  I love being able to chat to friends and family via skype, for as long as like and at no cost. I love reading other people’s blogs and have learnt so much more about the world than before.

I would not want to go back for anything. 🙂

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I was browing around facebook this evening after posting some photos from a recent trip to Cambridge when I saw this advert.

It looks really cool and if you are a cycling enthusiast then this may be something you would enjoy.  check it out.

p.s. why not connect with me on facebook!

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…out of the mouths of babes. My sister sent this to me via email, it was so divine I had to post it on my blog, enjoy:

A child was asked to write a book report on the entire Bible.
This is amazing and brought tears of laughter to my eyes.
I wonder how often we take for granted that children understand  what we are teaching???
Through the eyes of a child:
 
The Children’s Bible in a Nutshell

In the beginning, which occurred near the start, there was nothing but God, darkness, and some gas.  The Bible says, ‘The Lord thy God is one, but I think He must be a lot older than that.
Anyway, God said, ‘Give me a light!’ and someone did.
Then God made the world.
He split the Adam and made Eve.  Adam and Eve were naked, but they weren’t embarrassed because mirrors hadn’t been invented yet.
 
Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating one bad apple, so they were driven from the Garden of Eden…..Not sure what they were driven in though, because they didn’t have cars.
Adam and Eve had a son, Cain, who hated his brother as long as he was Abel.
Pretty soon all of the early people died off, except for Methuselah, who lived to be like a million or something.
One of the next important people was Noah, who was a good guy, but one of his kids was kind of a Ham.  Noah built a large boat and put his family and some animals on it. He asked some other people to join him, but they said they would have to take a rain check.
After Noah came Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Jacob was more famous than his brother, Esau, because Esau sold Jacob his birthmark in exchange for some pot roast.  Jacob had a son named Joseph who wore a really loud sports coat.
Another important Bible guy is Moses, whose real name was Charlton Heston.  Moses led the Israel Lights out of   Egypt and away from the evil Pharaoh after God sent ten plagues on Pharaoh’s people.  These plagues included frogs, mice, lice, bowels, and no cable.

God fed the Israel Lights every day with manicotti.  Then he gave them His Top Ten Commandments. These include: don’t lie, cheat, smoke, dance, or covet your neighbour’s stuff.
Oh, yeah, I just thought of one more: Humour thy father and thy mother.
One of Moses’ best helpers was Joshua who was the first Bible guy to use spies.  Joshua fought the battle of Geritol and the fence fell over on the town.
After Joshua came David.  He got to be king by killing a giant with a slingshot.  He had a son named Solomon who had about 300 wives and 500 porcupines.  My teacher says he was wise, but that doesn’t sound very wise to me.
After Solomon there were a bunch of major league prophets.  One of these was Jonah, who was swallowed by a big whale and then barfed up on the shore.  
There were also some minor league prophets, but I guess we don’t have to worry about them.
After the Old Testament came the New Testament.  Jesus is the star of The New.  He was born  in   Bethlehem  in a barn.  (I wish I had been born in a barn too, because my mom is always saying to me, ‘Close the door! Were you born in a barn?’ It would be nice to say, ‘As a matter of fact, I was.’)
 
During His life, Jesus had many arguments with sinners like the Pharisees and the Democrats.
Jesus also had twelve opossums.
The worst one was Judas Asparagus.  Judas was so evil that they named a terrible vegetable after him.
Jesus was a great man.  He healed many leopards and even preached to some Germans on the Mount.
 
But the Democrats and all those guys put Jesus on trial before Pontius the Pilot.  Pilot didn’t stick up for Jesus.  He just washed his hands instead.
Anyways, Jesus died for our sins, then came back to life again.  He went up to Heaven but will be back at the end of the Aluminium.  His return is foretold in the book of Revolution.

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…how funny life can sometimes be.   I had a very productive afternoon springcleaning my daughter’s flat in return for a bed at night for a few days (not a requirement; I offered).    Whilst whizzing (ok so maybe not whizzing) but while manipulating the hoover (actually it’s a morphy richards POD), round the flat upstairs and down, I had time to reflect on life.

Like how did I get to this place.  I don’t mean London as such but to the place in my life.   Here I am almost 55 & I have no home of my own, I don’t own a car, I have no furniture and all my possessions are in storage!  Is that a good or a bad thing?

A few years ago (blimey it really is almost 3years ago), I embarked on a helter-skelter journey of personal development. At one of the courses I did we had to list our five highest values.  My top value is freedom, my 2nd travel and so on.    My absolute passion is to travel.   Be careful what you wish for….

I work as a Carer for the Aged and in that capacity I get to travel round the UK, sometimes to larger cities like Cambridge, or Oxford, (see my previous blogs), other times to tiny little villages that don’t even have a Postoffice or grocer.   Now although that sounds great and I get to see some fabulous, interesting and quintessential places, and although I am travelling, this is not quite what I had in mind!

I tend to get jobs in far-flung places like Newton-Ferrers or some tiny village in Norfolk, or a farm in the depths of Kent where I can’t even get phone reception never mind internet, and yet I am travelling, living my passion; albeit my highest value is constantly challenged.

How does the law-of-attraction work like that?   A few months ago I saw a fabulous house in an estate agents window in Highgate, and secured a portfolio of the house, saying to my daughter: “I am going to live in that house”.   Now I have a job that I start on Monday in Highgate on the estate, but not in the house I admired.   All well and good you might say, except I get to live in someone else’s house on the estate….not my own.  So how does that work then?

I have read a lot about the LOA and listened to ‘The Secret’ dozens of times (literally), and yet it still baffles me.  If I say ask for £1million to be in my bank account by a particular date….that doesn’t happen.  So how is it that when I said one of my highest values was travel, do I get to travel and yet not in a way that I would like.

Is there something I am missing? Some ‘secret’, some point?    I find it exceptionally frustrating, that although to be honest I do love what I do, expecially when I get to care for someone really nice, I find my highest value is constantly challenged: freedom.

Yet if I look at the other side of the coin, I have no overheads in terms of mortgages, council taxes, bills, no transport problems/frustrations and it takes me maybe 2minutes to ‘walk’ to work….ie leave my room and walk to the next, it would appear that I do have freedom of a sorts, yet again, not the sort of freedom I would prefer.

During these personal development courses we are instructed to write down what we want, to be specific and itemise the list carefully.  Is that really what it takes?   Is that what people really do? 

Anyways, so that’s it.  Just wondering!

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